Business Pitch: Definition, Types & Importance

Business Pitch: Definition, Types & Importance
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  • 0:00 The Importance of Pitching
  • 1:55 Elevator & Live Plan Pitches
  • 2:57 One-Word &…
  • 3:54 Mystery & Rhyming Pitches
  • 4:57 Perfecting a Pitch
  • 5:30 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Scott Tuning

Scott has been a faculty member in higher education for over 10 years. He holds an MBA in Management, an MA in counseling, and an M.Div. in Academic Biblical Studies.

Attracting investors and clients can be tough for any business -- but especially, for new businesses. This lesson explores the most effective techniques for pitching to potential investors and customers.

The Importance of Pitching

In 1920, an aspiring young illustrator was fired from his job at a newspaper. 'You lack any form of creativity!' his boss told him. Over the next seven years, the artist took on odd jobs to pay the bills, all while continuing to pursue his dream of becoming an animator. During this time, he pitched, or presented, his cartoons countless times to banks, motion picture companies, and other potential supporters. Despite delivering over 300 pitches, he was rejected every single time.

Instead of giving up, the young artist took every rejection to heart and poured over the reasons his pitches were not securing investments. Each time, he adjusted his pitch and tried again. In 1928, he finally made a successful pitch to a motion picture company who agreed to use his animations in a film synchronized to music.

The film was a success and jump-started the career of the young artist, who was none other than Walt Disney. Through practice and persistence, Disney was able to turn his 300 rejections into what would ultimately become one of the most valuable brands in the world. That is the power of a great pitch.

More broadly put, a pitch is a presentation of a business idea to potential investors. People pitch a business because they need resources. If the goal is to raise startup cash, the target of the pitch is an investor. Other businesses pitch to potential customers to sell their product. Finally, some organizations pitch because they need a partner or resource to help them accomplish their mission.

It's important to remember that a pitch to an investor may not strictly seek startup capital. For example, a business may need an investment when it has an unexpected but very profitable order beyond its current capacity. Such a pitch is easier to make because investors feel far more secure with the purchase order in hand.

In this lesson, we'll explore different types of pitches you can use.

Elevator & Live Plan Pitches

While it's perfectly acceptable, and even encouraged, to have more than one business pitch ready to deliver, the most important pitch to bring to your first meeting with a potential customer is the elevator pitch. The idea of an elevator pitch is that it's short, just like an elevator ride. If executed well, this short pitch will spark the curiosity of the client and encourage them to ask more questions. Because of its brevity, an elevator pitch works great when seeking investors.

Another type of pitch is the live plan pitch, which relies more on visual aids than on speaking. The general idea of this pitch is to hand all of the customer's representatives a neatly formatted single page containing relevant information such as a market summary, financial information, or related legislation. This type of pitch is particularly effective when meeting with individuals and organizations who value empirical data, such as accounting firms, financial planners, and banks. With a bit of customization, this type of pitch can be delivered to a variety of investors or customers.

One-Word & Interrogative Pitches

Here are some mini slogans. For how many can you quickly identify the brand?

  1. Just do it!
  2. Think different.
  3. Got milk?
  4. I'm lovin' it.
  5. Imagination at work.

Slogans like these are great tools for pitching to customers because they are catchy and easy to remember. Although they often have more than one word, they are referred to as the one-word sales pitch because they are short, focused, and memorable pitches.

Another type of business pitch is interrogative. These types of pitches, usually made to customers, are characterized by a few questions during the first part of the pitch. This hook works by getting the customers to anticipate the solution before you even describe it. The questions can be abstract or concrete. Here are a few examples:

  1. What are the three most significant challenges your business is facing right now?
  2. Why do you think the industry is going to require xxx in the future?
  3. How is that process taking place right now, and how does it need to change?

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